Lifestyle Diseases In India

By Nitin Singhal|Updated : March 28th, 2021

Hello Aspirants,

This article is about Lifestyle Diseases In India, which is one of the important topics in GS Mains of Civil Services Examination. This article will be helpful in revision as well as Mains Answer Writing practise.

What is Lifestyle Disease

  • The diseases which are caused due to the poor lifestyle are called lifestyle diseases. This is commonly caused by smoking, alcohol and drug as well as lack of healthy eating and physical activity. 
  • Some examples of lifestyle diseases are diabetes, hypertension, cancers, heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke, diabetes, obesity and illnesses associated with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.
  • These chronic diseases are the outcome of unhealthy lifestyle choices. 
  • Identifying the causes of lifestyle diseases is important because if the causes are eliminated, the disease can be eliminated. 

Important Facts

  • According to the India State-Level Disease Burden Study report prepared by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), the total deaths due to lifestyle diseases has increased drastically from 37.09% (1990) to 61.8% (2016).
  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 15% of men (1 in 7) and 11% of women (1 in 10) of age 15-49 are the patients of hypertension.
  • As per cancer registry data of ICMR’s, have increased drastically over the years and have reached to around 15 lakh in the year 2017. The estimated deaths due to cancer have reached to around 7 lakh people. 
  • According to a report named “Enhancing the Effectiveness and Impact of Schools: Insights from School Health Screening Program”, vision, Obesity and dental issues are the major health problems faced by school-going children in the age group 2 to 17 years across India.

Important Lifestyle Diseases

  • Obesity: The easiest way to find whether a person is under obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI). If it is higher than 25, then an individual is in the obese category. The main reason for obesity is unhealthy eating habits, reduced physical activity and stressful lifestyle. Everyone who is overweight likely to suffer from blood pressure, breathing issues, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases etc. 
  • Diabetes: It develops due to poor eating habits and poor lifestyle choices. India has the largest number of diabetics in the world, with type II at 40.9 million. This number is increasing at a very high rate. Diabetes reduces the immune system of the body and invites other diseases.  
  • Arteriosclerosis: It occurs when the arterial blood vessel loses elasticity and wall thickening. This usually causes chest pain, blood circulation disorders and heart attacks. 
  • Heart diseases: Any irregularity which affects the blood vessel walls and the heart muscle can be referred to as heart disease. High cholesterol, smoking and diabetes contribute to its development in the body. India has the largest number of cardio patients, with 50 million suffering heart health issues.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is caused due to unhealthy eating habits, obesity, stress etc. In India, around 100 million people in India suffer from high blood pressure. 
  • Sleep Disorders - Any disorder that disrupts, affects or involves sleep may be called as a sleep disorder. This may be caused to long working, stressful life and less sleeping.  
  • Swimmer’s ear: Use headphones constantly with loud music for a long period may lead to swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear causes irritation, inflammation or infection in the ear canal or the outer ear. Constant exposure to noise may permanently damage the hearing capacity of an individual. 
  • Cancer: Due to the stressful lifestyle and poor living habits, the immune system of the body is decreasing, and this may lead to the attack of the virus on the body which may cause cancer. In this disease, there may be irregular cell growth, which can be concluded as cancer. 
  • Stroke: Blockage in the supply of blood to the brain leads to the stroke.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: It is caused by air pollution. 
  • Kidney and Liver Disease - Regular use of alcohol may lead to kidney and liver disease. This may later convert to severe disorders like Cirrhosis or Nephritis.

Reasons for the increase in the Lifestyle Diseases

  • Unhealthily Diet - The use of fast food in regular life is on the rise, and this may invite many lifestyle diseases.  
  • Use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs – In today lifestyle addition of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs are on the rise, which may lead to many lifestyle diseases at a later stage.  
  • Fatigue – it is a subjective feeling of tiredness which is caused by various reasons like lack of good night sleep, etc. It may lead to stress and can invite many lifestyle diseases. 
  • Poor physical fitness - Lack of physical activity may lead to poor physical fitness, which in later stage may lead to lifestyle diseases.
  • Poor health habits - alcohol, smoking, drug etc. are very harmful to health and may lead to lifestyle diseases.
  • Delay in early detection – Many a time the lifestyle diseases are not detected in an earlier stage, and hence its cure becomes more painful at a later stage. 
  • Poor medical infrastructure – Most of the people in India do not have access to a good medical facility, and hence the treatment to the disease got delayed. 

Healthy lifestyle

  • healthy lifestyle is meant to keep and improve one’s health and well-being. 
  • A healthy lifestyle has a lifelong effect on every aspect of an individual. 
  • A healthy lifestyle includes healthy eating habits, regular physical activities, proper sleep, stress management, weight management and regular checkups. 
  • A healthy lifestyle does not have any place for fast food, alcohol, smoking, drugs, tobacco etc.

Government Initiative

  • The Government of India (GoI) has formulated the National Health Policy, 2017, which aims to attain and promotes preventive as well as promotive health care orientation. The policy seeks to reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • The Government of India under the National Health Mission (NHM) has brought the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cancer and other Cardiovascular Diseases. The objective of the programme includes early detection and referral to an appropriate level institution for treatment.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, new AIIMS and medical colleges have been set up for healthcare.
  • Various initiatives have been made in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH, for prevention and control of Non-communicable Diseases.
  • Jan Aushadhi stores have been set up by the goverment to provide generic medicines at affordable prices.

The solution of the Lifestyle Diseases

  • Healthy food habits – Healthy food is the key to good health. Fast food, chips, packed and oily food are to be avoided.
  • Regular exercise – Regular exercise keeps the blood circulation in the body and increases the immune system of the body. It makes the body strong and fit. 
  • Sufficient rest/sleep – Proper rest is must for a healthy body and mind. 
  • Adoption of good habits – A routine life with good habits always helps in maintaining a healthy body and mind. 
  • Regular checkup – Everyone should make regular health checkup habits at least in a year for early detection and cure of any disease if any. 
  • Remember, precaution is always better than cure.

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